The South Dakota State wrestling team took its talents to Chattanooga, Tenn., for the highly competitive Southern Scuffle.
In addition to SDSU, 22 other schools sent participants to this year’s Southern Scuffle. Of those 23, eight were ranked in the InterMat NCAA Division I tournament-strength rankings, the highest being top-ranked Penn State.
Additionally, 68 wrestlers are ranked in the top-20 individually by InterMat. One-half of the nation’s top-ranked wrestlers are set to compete at the Southern Scuffle (149, 165, 174, 184, 285). Two of the No. 1 wrestlers compete for No. 2 Oklahoma State (149, 174), while the other three wrestlers wrestle for Cornell (165), Penn State (184) and Minnesota (285). One weight class sports nine ranked wrestlers (149) and no weight class sports less than five ranked wrestlers (141, 197).
Dustin Walraven was the top Jackrabbit performer on Day 1 at 149 pounds. Walraven dropped his opening-round match by decision, but rebounded with four-straight wins to advance to Day 2. Walraven pinned Charles Holt (The Citadel) in less than two minutes before scoring three decisions in a row versus Cohl Fulk (North Carolina State), Zach Basich (Navy) and Alex Cisneros (Unattached).
“Dustin found a lot of ways to win a bunch of close matches,” head coach Chris Bono said. “He wrestled hard, got off of the bottom and found a way to score decisions.”
Brance Simms and Ben Gillette opened their days with first-round decisions at 133 pounds and 141 pounds, respectively.
Simms started off on the right foot versus Pat Owens (North Carolina) with a late takedown and two stalling calls in the third period for a 4-1 win. After dropping a decision in the second round, Simms scored a major decision versus Luke Mario (North Carolina) in consolation before being ousted.
Gillette sealed the match versus William Johnson (Appalachian State) with a takedown in the second period for a 3-1 win, but was unable to advance beyond that point.
Cody Pack and Joe Brewster each won their first-round consolation match at 157 and 165, respectively, but were knocked out in the second round.
Pack scored a 12-9 decision versus Brad Dolezal (Minnesota), while Brewster topped Jacob Schalles (Navy) by 8-0 major decision.
Joe Skow took advantage of a medical forfeit to advance to the second round of consolation at 197, but was defeated in his next match.
Six SDSU wrestlers lost to ranked opponents in the highly competitive field.
“We made a huge improvement from the last time we stepped off of the mat,” said Bono. “We lost a ton of close matches that we were in until the end of the match, which is why we have only one wrestler advancing to Day 2 instead of several. Although I am not thrilled with the end results, I am very happy with the effort, attitude and performance.”
Competition continues tomorrow in Chattanooga.
Complete results from Day 1 are available at the beginning of this article.
Individual SDSU wrestler results are listed below.
The tournament preview is available on GoJacks.com.
133 – Brance Simms decision Pat Owens (North Carolina), 4-1 133 – No. 5 Christopher Dardanes (Minnesota) decision Brance Simms, 7-4 133 – Brance Simms major decision Luke Mario (North Carolina), 15-4 133 – Colton Rasche (Navy) decision Brance Simms, 6-3
141 – Ben Gillette decision William Johnson (Appalachian State), 3-1 141 – Mike Avelar (North Carolina State) decision Ben Gillette, 9-4 141 – Trevor Jauch (Missouri) major decision Ben Gillette, 14-0